Lab-Grown Diamonds vs. Moissanite: What is the Difference? – When looking for new diamond jewelry pieces to add to your wardrobe, you’ve probably found yourself looking at results for both lab-grown diamonds and moissanite diamonds. You’re a little bit confused: they look pretty much the same to you, could lab-grown diamonds and moissanite really be that different? The answer is actually: yes! Lab-grown diamonds differ greatly from moissanite in a number of ways including the material that they’re made from, as well as their durability and cost. If you’re looking to learn more about the differences between lab-grown diamonds and moissanite, we’re here to break them down and help you find the perfect new diamond jewelry to add to your existing accessory collection.
What Are Lab-Grown Diamonds?
Before the creation of lab-grown diamonds, the only form of diamonds available for purchase were mined diamonds. Mined diamonds still exist today, and are cultivated by mining them from deep in the earth. However, the mining process has proven itself to be harmful to the environment. In order to make space for mining operations, many natural forests have been destroyed. In addition to this, the mining process causes a great deal of fossil fuels to be released into the air, which helps to contribute to the effects of global warming.
Given the harm that mining for diamonds can cause our planet, many people prefer a more sustainable diamond option for their jewelry. Enter: lab-grown diamonds! Lab-grown diamonds are crafted in a laboratory setting using a small piece of diamond known as a “diamond seed” as a building block for carbon atoms to form on top of in order to create a new diamond. In order for carbon atoms to attach to the diamond seed, it must be subjected to high levels of pressure and heat.
There are two methods of creating lab-grown diamonds: the Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) method, as well as the High Pressure High Temperature (HPHT) method. When lab-grown diamonds are created via the CVD method, a diamond seed is placed into a plasma reactor where carbon heavy gasses are turned into plasma that can easily adhere to the diamond seed. Meanwhile, the HPHT method requires a diamond seed to be placed in pure carbon, followed by exposure to extremely high heat and pressure. While lab-grown diamonds are made via both the CVD and HPHT method, the CVD method requires significantly less energy, and is therefore considered more sustainable.
Are Lab-Grown Diamonds Real Diamonds?
When you first hear the phrase “lab-grown diamonds,” you might wonder if lab-grown diamonds are actually considered “real” diamonds. In fact, they are! As of 2018, the Federal Trade Commision (FTC) considers lab-grown diamonds to be just as real as mined diamonds. As such, you can rest assured that any lab-grown diamond jewelry that you buy is made of the highest quality diamond material.
What is Moissanite?
When shopping for diamond jewelry, you’ve probably seen listings for pieces containing moissanite. While moissanite can appear to look similar to lab-grown diamonds in terms of brilliance (aka a stone’s sparke) and shape, moissanite is actually a form of diamond simulant. Diamond simulants like moissanite are typically lower in price than lab-grown diamonds. Many people who are looking to shop for jewelry on a budget may turn to moissanite to get pieces that look similar to real lab-grown diamonds, but are not of the same level of quality or durability.
How Can You Tell Moissanite and Lab-Grown Diamonds Apart?
One of the greatest differences between moissanite and lab-grown diamonds is the material that they’re each made of: moissanite is made of silicon carbide, rather than carbon, like lab-grown diamonds are. Silicon carbide is far less durable than carbon, yet still study enough to make jewelry that can be worn frequently.
In addition to this, the quality of moissanite and lab-grown diamonds are graded differently. While the quality of lab-grown diamonds are determined by the 4 C’s: cut, carat, clarity, and color, the quality of moissanite is only graded on color.
Moissanite also differs from lab-grown diamonds in terms of brilliance. Typically, moissanite appears more sparkly than lab-grown diamonds. This is due to the fact that moissanite is doubly refracted, while lab-grown diamonds are singly refracted, which means that the light that refracts through moissanite appears to double. Additionally, moissanite tends to have a more colorful sparkle than lab-grown diamonds: instead of producing a clear sparkle, moissanite tends to produce a shine more akin to fireworks when exposed to light.
While lab-grown diamonds and moissanite look similar on the surface, when you do some research and look closely at them side by side, you begin to notice the differences in their quality, durability, brilliance, and color. If you’re looking for high-quality diamond jewelry, you’re going to want to look for pieces containing lab-grown diamonds rather than moissanite.